Gordon Sproat was my father's best friend at school – they attended the Birkenhead Institute from the age of 11 years. He was the second child of Henry Sproat (1896-1976) and Druscilla Peel Middleton (1896-1972) and was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 17 Dec 1922, which coincidentally was also Dad's date of birth. In about 1925, the family moved to Birkenhead on the Wirral in Cheshire. He had two sisters: Audrey Isabella Sproat (1918-1999), who married George E. Eastaugh in 1940, and Mavis Sproat (1926-2001), who married Colin Boston (another Birkenhead Institute pupil) in 1948. A younger brother, Henry, died within a few weeks of birth ~1925.
Dad and Gordon both wanted to join the Royal Air Force as pilots in World War II. Gordon got his wish and it cost him his life. Although Dad passed the 3 days of exams to be able to train to be a pilot, he was devastated that his colour blindness meant he was unfit to be a Pilot, Observer, or Wireless Operator/Air Gunner (he still has the report of the medical findings and rejection in his box of war photos and memorabilia). But to this day, Dad considers his colour blindness as being a blessing in disguise, as so many young pilots lost their lives within a few months of enlisting. In fact, half of Gordon's and Dad's classmates at Birkenhead Institute lost their lives in WWII when only ~18-22 years old.